Sunday, March 31, 2019

What is on Your Spring Bucket List?

Do you make a list of things you want to do each season? How about planning what you want to do during the rest of you life?

 I am often thrilled to get the weeks meals planned but planning special activites for the next few months gives me joy and something to look forward to. It has been a long winter and I am so excited to enjoy warmer weather!

I do love making lists!

 I am always making lists. Groceries lists, "To Do Today" items, things I need to do for work events, things I want to get organized, empowering activities for good mental health, are just part of making everyday life work.   There is also my continual list of  "How I plan to lose weight and get fit," plus keeping track of banking, bills and medical needs.  There is even a need to keep track of family members events such as when we need to go to grandkids school and dance performances.

When I had the brain injury my memory took a significant downward dive and lists were the only thing that kept my mental memory wheel from spinning out of control in an endless loop. When in doubt I tried to remember to check the list. As I recovered and my memory improved, I found that I was busier than ever and therefore had a lot more to remember, so I still needed my lists!
The best lists for me are the ones where I plan out the fun activities or make steps toward goals that make me happy or feel proud of what I am accomplishing. A new season is indeed a fantastic time to think ahead to all you have to look forward to in the coming months.

What is a "Bucket List" anyway?

Yes! This is indeed a topic on the internet!  Basically, the idea is that most of us wish to enjoy meaningful experiences in our lifetimes and the point of a bucket list is to get out there and do it before we die or "kick the bucket." Some people think immediately of exotic destinations they long to see and activities that go with it. Others think of personal accomplishments such as learning a musical instrument or a different language or maybe becoming a public speaker or owning their own business. Others might have dreams of setting up a lasting legacy.. a building that lasts beyond them or setting up a scholarship for deserving students or perhaps ensuring that their grandchildren will have a nest egg to help them have the future that they will someday dream about.
A bucket list can be as big or small as you want it to be and it is flexible. You can add to it or remove items from it - after all, it is about you and your dreams! Your bucket list can help give you some direction and purpose. You can ask yourself what your purpose in life is or you can figure out what all you love in this world. It sets out a unique set of goals that are truly meaningful to you, and once you set that goal, you can start to organize how you might actually realize your dreams.

 You do have to remember that beyond the big goals and important moments are made up of smaller steps and special moments. Don't forget those big goals, but also don't forget to enjoy all the wonderful times and to celebrate the everyday pleasures and experiences.

I am looking forward to a few upcoming special events.

  • In a few weeks, I will attend the Manitoba Girl Guide Conference in Brandon for a weekend.
  • A remarkably large selection of Guiding activities are coming up this Spring in my district. They include everything from an adult award dinner we are planning to youth activities such as hosting a large Mother's Day Tea to a camp, a park clean-up plus so much more!
  • We have our Scandinavian Choir Concert on May 13th.
  • My husband and I are celebrating our 40th Anniversary this July, and we are planning on making it special.
  • I expect to have an opportunity to visit with my oldest daughter who is currently living out of the province.
  • In September I am hosting a week-long gathering of members from an online group I participate in called Christmas to the Max.
  •  We are hoping to get some major work done at our cottage and get a chance to really enjoy it this year!
A lot of my planning is centred around these highlights, but I still need to plan on some just plain
FUN STUFF! Things that make good memories!

Linda's Spring List!

  • Work on Painting watercolour pictures.
  • Create a relaxing corner for me to relax and be creative
  • Make  Easter cards with my new painting skill.
  • Participate in a 30 day watercolour painting challnge.
  • Celebrate Earth Day by starting some seeds.
  • Go to the big garden center to buy the above seeds
  • Buy a new Easter outfit.
  • Bake a special bread for Easter
  • Make some crafts about Butterflies for work and for home.
  • Make some marmalade for the first time in decades.
  • Have a picnic in the park.
  • Go out for a special dinner and a movie.
  • Read a good novel
  • Create paper birds to hang in trees or making lanterns.
  • Make art pieces out of natural items.

I love comments! 

Please tell us about your Spring projects or adventures!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

How I am Doing 9 months after a Hip Replacement?

It has been 9 months since I had hip replacement surgery because of osteoarthritis.

I am glad I had the surgery, There is a huge reduction in my pain level, and my mobility has increased a lot. My leg feels much more stable when I step on it.  Basically, I feel safer. My hip had been so bad that it literally was dislocated and locking funny and I just didn't know what would happen with the next step.

How am I doing now? I am so glad I had the surgery but there is still some discomfort, and my endurance is still, really lousy, and things like getting into a van are challenging.  Maybe I should be exercising more, maybe more time with the physiotherapist or massage therapist would help. I have not been slacking off.. but have I really done enough?

I recently looked at a graph about recovery after hip replacement, and it shows that recovery continues at a pretty good rate until about month 6 and after that, it slows down but still continues at a more modest rate for the full year post surgery.
I wonder about this graph. Is it that people are almost fully recovered at six months and are fully satisfied with where they are or do they become complacent and decide to just live with it, believing this is their new normal? Or perhaps this is as good as it is going to get. Maybe the law of diminishing returns is working, and a large amount of work required for further recovery just isn't worth the energy for the degree of improvement they are seeing.

When I had some muscle issues shortly after the surgery I was put back on bedrest and told to be very careful, so my initial recovery plan went out the window, and I got to baby myself. Pain management was bad.  I think I got into the habit of being very gentle with myself. The phrase "No Pain - No Gain is ridiculous. Exercise should not cause pain.. discomfort yes, exhaustion probably but not outright pain! But maybe I have been scared to see where that line between pain and discomfort lays in my case, and I am a little reluctant to take chances.

I find that I am not leading as active a life as I want to.

I am back at work doing my regular shifts. When I am actually doing things at work, I get a bit of an adrenaline rush and keep going and then once I go home after work I need some painkillers and I act like a wet noodle. My most significant effort at home after the workday is deciding whether I need an icepack because my hip and but muscles are swelling again or a heating pad because my lower back muscles toward the hip are so sore and tense. My arthritic left knee is not too happy either. My gait has improved with this hip surgery, but my poor muscles are having a hard time keeping up with all these changes that I am asking of them -  even though the actual mechanics are so much better.

Girl Guiding is affected too. After the surgery, I was hoping I could handle a winter (indoor sleeping) camp with the teenagers in our group that was planned for January. There was no way I could manage slugging around in the snow let alone sleeping in a different and probably uncomfortable bed. The cold seems like a terrible idea too.

Work around the house is improving, and I am getting up and down the basement stairs better than I have in a decade, but  I am still not able to go down with my arms full of laundry. I need to hang on to the rails with both hands.

I am still going to the pool for an arthritis group class, and I always have a better and more mobile day after my class. It makes me believe there is hope for me yet!

What next? I'm really not sure at the moment but I know I must keep moving.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Art Project::Watercolor And Snow Themed Meetings

Winter is a game changer in Winnipeg. We complain about how cold it is but we feel proud about how we press on with our everyday lives no matter what. It is cold and we adjust, we put on boots, drink hot beverages and plug in our cars so they will start. We embrace it. I wanted to do an art project at work that reflected winter and I decided to to go with Snowflakes.this year. I started by spending two theme-related sessions leading up to the art project.

The first program involved talking about the cold weather we are experiencing and then moved on to reminiscing about what they recall about winter fun and work. I asked about, shovelling snow, going sledding, skating, riding snowmobiles! I heard several people wishing they had taken the time to build snowmen. We talked a bit about global warming and how shorter warmer winters might beof  some benefits and there also might be some problems.

My second snow themed activity involved more individual and small group visits. I looked up a lot of pictures of close-ups of snowflakes on our department laptop. Little videos showing how a snow crystal grows proved to be particularly interesting. We talked about how many arms a flake has and how awesome they are. We speculated if it was true or not that there are no two snowflakes the same. I particularly like using the information and pictures on

For Art Day I wanted to use watercolor techniques which is something we don't do very often. I like tape resist projects and used strips of painters tape over water-color paper. The paint was inexpensive paint dry disk sets. I attached the paper to the table with the tape. It kept the projects from sliding around and at the same time, it gives a nice kind of matting around the art. We used bigger brushes and I encouraged the use of lighter colors to suggest a snowy day but any color was fine.

The only really note worthy change was that I rotated the paper as the session progressed. That made it easier for people who don't have a lot of reach with their arms and to encourage people to cover that whole page with color.

The pictures dried quickly and then we had the fun of pulling off the painters tape to reveal our designs. I like to back art with poster board pieces to show off the work, make it look a little more finished and to make the paper sturdier and lie flatter.

Our Artists were quite thrilled with their final results.

Friday, February 1, 2019

When Our Goals are No Longer Right for Us

I have spent this evening fighting to input info into a database program for one of my volunteer recreation activities.  I think I played with it for over 2 hours before I came to the conclusion that it wasn't me doing something wrong.  The program is glitchy. Truly Glitchy. Why did it take me so long to give up?

I reported 2 bugs in the past few months and eventually they got fixed and I was feeling happier about how the program was operating. When I used it today I got frustrated and I kept trying, again and again, thinking "what if" I do this or remove and re-add the troubled option? Nope. I tried rebooting my computer. Nope.

It was late at night before I decided it was out of my control and nothing I did was going to change the outcome. I would need to wait until the glitch actually gets fixed.
Why did I waste so much time?

I think being stubborn and maybe a little obsessive has actually worked in my favour and gotten me through a lot of hard times. But NOT Always.

One of my blogging friends recently wrote about changing an important life goal after 9 years of frustration. She questioned her readers "Is this giving up?".   It is a hard question. She is going to keep working on the needed physical skill itself so her readers agreed that it is not giving up but simply working towards her goal in a less frustrating way.

Why are we so hard on people who are giving up, or changing their goals and dreams? Why are we so hard on ourselves?
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up my childish ways. 1 Corinthians 13:11
Change is continual through our lives and is not restricted to the coming of adulthood, Sometimes as adults, we need to accept that change in a necessary part of our lives and sometimes a sign of personal growth

 If something is no longer your passion, no longer useful or perhaps just not a priority anymore why do we stubbornly hang on to it?  It must be a little different for everyone. Could it be a habit that we feel secure in? Could we be afraid of humiliation and being seen as a failure? Maybe we are scared of that unknown step just beyond us into the future and fear that that step will take us into a worse place than we are in now.

What I believe is wrong is procrastinating so long that fear of that change leaves you waiting in a place that is negative and damaging. It gets in the way of your hopes and dreams and perhaps the needs of others around you.

Lately, I have been watching Marie Kondo on Netflix. She is famous for bringing her organizational strategies to people who are struggling with their physical spaces. Her approach is to take individual items and ask if they give you Joy as a way of deciding what to declutter. If an item is no longer wanted, she says to thank the item and then let it go. Watching this show I am finding that her method is much more charming, practical and hopeful than I expected.
If millions of people are benefiting from her method for decluttering their belongings how many others would benefit from taking such a kind approach to their life choices?

Set those goals and ambitions but don't forget to keep reevaluating your choices to be sure they are still right for you.  If your thoughts about what you are doing give you JOY you are on the right track.  If you decide this is no longer something that you want to do or be, let it go. Release it and be ready to make changes but don't forget to be kind to yourself and be thankful it for what you have learned along the way.

Your past choices and experiences have strengthened you and made you ready for what is yet to come.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Our Fun Outing with Paint Nite

My daughter Alicia and I went to my first ever Paint Nite and we made winter nighttime scenes.

 Paint Night is a company that has artists lead painting classes in places like clubs or bars and it has quite a party atmosphere. Everyone makes the same painting in a step by step fashion, following the facilitator. We left booking it to the last minute so we only had a couple of choices of painting events but I am pretty happy with the one we choose to attended.

The paintings each come out looking a bit different so it is kind of fun to see them all looking unique. It was really nice to have a night out with my daughter. I think we need to work on having more fun events like this together.

I liked the instructor and we felt very relaxed. The class was a pretty big group with about 25 people but it really didn't feel crowed and it was easy to learn what we needed to while working on the paintings and enjoying our beverages from the bar. Our biggest problem was finding parking which was unexpectedly challenging for a Sunday night.

This may not the best painting I have ever done, but I did learn a few skills about painting and a few tricks about how to run a big art class.

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